General

General, Inspiration /

Rise in the City: A Unique Blend of Creativity and Altruism

rise in the city is a unique art event created to catalyze social enterprises in Africa, featuring an artwork competition, exhibition and auction. The concept began with splitting Manhattan into 100 virtual blocks; leading artists, designers and architects were then invited to create a work of art representing a block of the city. The challenge was to get inspired by Lesotho. One could reference the white, blue and green colors of its national flag, incorporate the traditional blankets or famous Basotho hat, or even re-interpret the traditional Litema patterns that adorn Lesotho’s vernacular buildings. All proceeds from the event go towards the construction of an accommodation block for an orphanage in Lesotho. Additionally, proceeds will fund entrepreneurship training for orphanage staff to promote the development of income-generating activities and reduce aid dependency.

(more…)

Architecture, General /

Drones and Architecture: Becoming Certified to Fly

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or more commonly referred to as “drones,” are a somewhat new and emerging technology, especially in the field of architecture. As prices of this technology fall while its features and capabilities increase, we are starting to see the benefit of being able to utilize UAS’s in house. As with most emerging technology, the rules and regulations surrounding drones are relatively new, especially when you are dealing with something as controversial as a flying camera. Part of dealing with some of the red tape surrounding commercial drone use is gaining your Part 107 certification.

(more…)

General, Inspiration /

Four Tips for a Fun Social Media Launch Party

Lawrence Group recently launched its Instagram account and celebrated with a company launch party to get people excited and on board to share their behind-the-scenes project details, silly moments and an overall glimpse into what makes the culture and work of Lawrence Group unique. Our team threw a space-themed launch party for the start of our blog in 2015, and we wanted to top the level of excitement among employees for our second go-around. The “InstaParty” successfully launched our new Instagram account. Here are some tips I recommend for marketing teams looking to boost internal excitement and engagement when it comes to new social media for their company:

(more…)

General, Inspiration /

For the Love of Craft: A Trip Through the Legacy of George Nakashima

New York City, 7:00 AM, the 2-hour road trip ahead of us would allow plenty of time to soak in the gradual transition from the Manhattan skyline to the rural landscape of eastern Pennsylvania. Watching the sun climb behind our white Suburban (which had become our mobile office for the day) we exited the Lincoln Tunnel and turned our conversation and thoughts to what lay ahead; the town of New Hope and home of woodworker, George Nakashima.

Everyone can remember the first time they heard about the work of George Nakashima. For some, this is in the trenches of design school, for others it is through curious self-initiated investigation, and for many this introduction is given in moments of serendipity over a dinner table or chance encounter with one of Mr. Nakashima’s wooden masterpieces. For almost everyone though, the name “George Nakashima” brings to mind a remarkable design heritage and a seemingly endless wealth of timeless inspiration. For the nine of us in our fully loaded SUV, a rare opportunity for a private tour of the Nakashima Foundation was a long-awaited adventure.

(more…)

General, Inspiration /

3 Pieces of Advice for Future Conference Attendees

I can’t express enough the wealth of knowledge that the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference provides. I’d like to give a shout out to UMSL Business for putting on such a rich learning experience, and give a thank you to Spectrum Reach, the conference sponsor. If you haven’t already, take a look at my latest post, “Top Takeaways from the 2017 Midwest Digital Marketing Conference,” which outline the key pieces of knowledge I learned from the 2017 conference. Thinking of attending next year? Here is my first-timer advice:

(more…)

General, Inspiration /

Top Takeaways from the 2017 Midwest Digital Marketing Conference

The 2017 Midwest Digital Marketing Conference marked UMSL’s third year hosting the event and my first year in attendance. I learned a lot about what it is like to attend a large conference like this and a lot about the changing digital marketing landscape. Here are some of the key insights I took away from the conference.

  1. Digital marketing should be about making connections, not just making contact.

This one may seem obvious, but it never hurts to have a reminder. The key to a successful social media presence is making meaningful connections with your audience, not just spewing information at them that you perceive to be relevant. It’s better to stop and understand what your audience really wants to see and respond to, rather than playing a guessing game. Two pieces of advice to keep in mind to help you stay on track and build connections are (1) say it, don’t spray it and, (2) when it comes to content, place value on quality over quantity.

(Inspired by Phil Cara of Buzzfeed)

(more…)

General, Inspiration /

5 Social Media Best Practices for the AEC Industry

The social media scene is ever evolving. New platforms are popping up rapidly, while others are becoming obsolete. With so many channels to choose from, learn about and keep up with, social media strategy has the potential to be a real headache for digital marketers in the AEC industry, an industry changing almost as rapidly as the tools with which we market those services. Here are five best practices I think can help you make the most of your firm’s time spent on social media marketing.

(more…)

General, Inspiration /

3 Powerful Presentations from 2016

As another new year is almost upon us, I’m reminded of three powerful presentations that I was fortunate to attend in 2016 with lessons to carry forward into 2017.

The national SMPS (Society for Marketing Professional Services) and CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) conferences always have high caliber keynote speakers, and 2016 was no exception with Ben Casnocha and Amy Cuddy. Then at its local signature event in November, CREW St. Louis brought in national speaker AmyK. All three were dynamic, had great stories to tell and gave key takeaways to help others in their career development.

(more…)

Architecture, General /

A Week Down South

I have always loved being from St. Louis and have always had a lot of civic pride in the city I live in. I have been fortunate enough to live in Kansas City, Missouri and Manhattan, Kansas for school, and travel various places throughout the country, but rarely have I ever made it “down South.” That all changed when I got asked to visit and work in Lawrence Group’s Charlotte office for a week.

The office had a deadline for a new recreation complex and needed some help. I was happy to make the trip and get some valuable experience at another Lawrence Group office. It was easy to sense that southern charm in the small town of Davidson, about 20 miles outside of Charlotte, immediately upon arrival. Shortly thereafter, I got oriented on the project, and we got to work. Over the next week, I worked closely with Dave Malushizky, principal, and Jackie Paulsmeyer, designer, on the project as we hashed out things from reflected ceiling plans to window and door details to interior and exterior elevations. (more…)

General, Inspiration /

A Mid-Century Modern Childhood

When Lawrence Group moved from Lafayette Square to downtown St. Louis in 1992, my mother, Martha Ohlemeyer, presented me with a painting of the Old Courthouse that still hangs on the wall in my office. She painted it over the course of a few days (which still blows my mind), thinking it important that our new office have some artwork representative of downtown.  She did it as an homage to one of her favorites, Fred Conway, who she studied under at Washington University in the 1940’s. Look him up and you’ll see the inspiration. She credits him in the upper right corner. It was he who steered her to fine art rather than commercial art. Always practical, her idea had been to be a magazine illustrator. He convinced her otherwise. She enjoyed a prolific career of painting and sculpting in multiple media, teaching, showing and occasionally selling. Selling her work was never a goal, though it was certainly nice when it happened. Her art was just what she did. She never bragged about her talent, but was very comfortable knowing she had it. She worked hard at it and enjoyed it and, in the process, inadvertently made my childhood mid-century modern.

A lot of my school breaks as a kid were spent hanging out with mom and her art friends either at the Artist’s Guild when it was next door to Soldan High School, at one of her friend’s homes or maybe even accompanying them on a plein air outing. I had no idea of the culture rich environment I was immersed in, I was just enjoying it for what it was and soaking it in unawares. If I didn’t have my own coloring books or modeling clay, they’d give me scraps of ‘the real stuff’ to play with. Among her friends was Ruth Schweiss, an art school classmate who had gone on to study at Cranbrook under Carl Milles (sculptor for the fountains in front of Union Station and the Climatron). She created the ballerina sculptures in front of the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton. The Schweiss family lived in a house designed by Bernoudy-Mutrux. As a kid, I remember always liking the house because it had lots of cubbies, nooks and crannies and windows that were somehow different than anything I had seen anywhere else. I had no idea I was moving about a mid-century modern classic work of art. It was just a fun place to play.

(more…)